Future Uncertain for Revel Casino

Revel CasinoThe fate of the Revel Casino in Atlantic City remains unknown despite its acquisition earlier this year by real estate developer Glenn Straub.

The Revel was one of four New Jersey casinos that closed last year, putting a hurt on an industry that once stood tall and proud before casinos began popping up in neighboring states. Straub purchased the casino at the bargain-basement price of $82 million earlier this year after a long and drawn-out process in bankruptcy court.

It took $2.4 billion in financing to open the casino in 2012. The Revel failed to turn a profit, succumbing twice to bankruptcy proceedings in its short history.

Straub recently told the Press of Atlantic City that he would let the casino go for the right price, perhaps around $200 million. Apparently, some foreign investors are interested in taking over the beleaguered property. As are some Indian tribes, whose interest may center around running the operation – as opposed to buying it outright.

Still an issue surrounding the Revel is a dispute with ACR Energy Partners, the power supplier. The feud centers around money, and lots of it. The Revel is ACR’s only client, and the power company made good on its promise to cut off power to the building back in April due to unpaid debts.

Later that month, power was restored to the property as city officials worried that a fire in the building would not be able to be put out without adequate power sources. And a red light at the top of the Revel needed to be on for air traffic safety precautions.

Straub has been threatening to obtain power for the Revel from other sources, namely, the nearby Showboat Casino that also closed down last year. Meanwhile, his desire to open the building this summer remains on hold until the power dispute can be resolved.

But who will open the Revel and when and what businesses will occupy the property continues to be in the category of the unknown, with Straub apparently waffling on the direction to take. A meeting with the previous operators of the HQ nightclub inside the Revel occurred recently, apparently with an eye toward a re-opening of that nature.

Talk of opening a casino in the northern end of the state – outside of Atlantic City – could adversely affect the Revel, if it eventually opens as a casino. For that matter, the eight remaining casinos in Atlantic City would also be impacted.

While land-based casino gambling in New Jersey continues to fall short of revenue from years past, the Garden State remains one of three states with regulated online gambling. Although igaming revenue numbers have also missed projected totals, New Jersey is benefiting from online poker and gambling, with improvement on the horizon if other states climb aboard and interstate compacts are forged.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett